In 2015, the WGC Match Play has a new sponsor in Cadillac, and a new format to please television audiences.
Abandoning the single elimination format that often sent the stars home before the weekend, the new WGC Cadillac starts with a pool play format that will keep everyone around until Friday.
The new format groups the 64 player field into sixteen four player groups. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, each group will play round-robin matches. The player with the best record in each group continues to the “Sweet Sixteen” on Saturday for single elimination. The “Elite Eight” matches will be held Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning will feature the Final Four, and the Championship and consolation matches will be held Sunday Afternoon.
It’s a neat fix that guarantees three days with every player in the field. It also eliminates the freak win that sends a top seeded player home after the first day. That occurs far more often than fans — and television producers — would have liked.
Another change is that the tournament moved from February in Arizona to April in San Francisco. In 2016, the Championship moves to Austin, Texas.
The WGC Match Play Championship is the successor event of the Anderson Consulting World Championship of Golf, a 32 player, unofficial event played from 1995 to 1998. In 1999, the event became part of the World Golf Championship series, hosted by La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California. It was held at that resort from 1999 to 2006, with a one year side trip to the Metropolitcan Golf Club in Victoria, Australia. That turned out to be unpopular, and it has not again left the United States. The WGC Match Play Championship was been held at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Arizona in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, it moved to the Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain, Arizona.
The prize of $9 million is official on the PGA Tour, the European Tour and the Japan Golf Tour. In addition to the $1.4 million winner’s share, the last man standing also takes the Walter Hagen Cup. The name is appropriate, as Hagen is widely considered to be the finest match player ever.
Prior to the unofficial Anderson event, the PGA Tour held the Seiko Tuscon Match Play Championship from 1984 to 1986. Jim Thorpe twice won that event. The PGA Championship was match play from its inception in 1916 to 1958. The US and British Amateur Championships also are match play events, although the US Amateur experimented with medal play from 1965 to 1972. Resistance to match play surely comes from the television networks, who cannot be thrilled at the possibility of having the marquee stars ousted on day one, with four more days to come. The solution — not yet used — would be to use a double elimination format.
Participants in the Anderson event were chosen from the top eight players available from four different regions, the United States, Europe, Japan, and the “Rest of the World”. The positions were determined by the Sony Rankings. Each region played three rounds of match play to determine the regional winner to send to the finals. The regional tournaments were played at various times (February to August) throughout the year at different courses in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
- Most times won tournament – Tiger Woods (3 wins)
- Largest Championship Match Victory (36 holes) – 8 & 7, Tiger Woods over Stewart Cink (2008)
- Other lopsided match (18 holes) – 9 & 8, Tiger Woods over Stephen Ames (2006, 1st round)
- Longest championship match – 38 holes, Jeff Maggert over Andrew Magee (1999)
- Longest match (non-championship) – 26 holes, Scott Verplank over Lee Westwood (2006, 1st round), Mike Weir over Loren Roberts (2003, 1st round)
A list of past winners of the WGC Match Play Championship and the Anderson Consulting Match Play Championship follows:
|Year||Player||Country||Runner-up||Score||1st Prize ($)||Purse ($)|
|WGC-Dell Match Play Championship|
|WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship|
|2015||Rory McIlroy||Northern Ireland||Gary Woodland||4&2||1,530,000||9,000,000|
|2014||Jason Day||Australia||Victor Dubuisson||23 Holes||1,570,000||9,250,000|
|2013||Matt Kuchar||United States||Hunter Mahan||2&1||1,500,000||8,750,000|
|2012||Hunter Mahan||United States||Rory McIlroy||2&1||1,400,000||8,500,000|
|2011||Luke Donald||England||Martin Kaymer||3&2||1,350,000||8,000,000|
|WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship|
|2010||Ian Poulter||England||Paul Casey||4 & 2||1,400,000||8,500,000|
|2009||Geoff Ogilvy||Australia||Paul Casey||4 & 3||1,400,000||8,500,000|
|2008||Tiger Woods||United States||Stewart Cink||8 & 7||1,350,000||8,000,000|
|2007||Henrik Stenson||Sweden||Geoff Ogilvy||2 & 1||1,350,000||8,000,000|
|2006||Geoff Ogilvy||Australia||Davis Love III||3 & 2||1,300,000||7,500,000|
|2005||David Toms||United States||Chris DiMarco||6 & 5||1,300,000||7,500,000|
|2004||Tiger Woods||United States||Davis Love III||3 & 2||1,200,000||7,000,000|
|2003||Tiger Woods||United States||David Toms||2 & 1||1,050,000||6,000,000|
|2002||Kevin Sutherland||United States||Scott McCarron||1 up||1,000,000||5,500,000|
|2001||Steve Stricker||United States||Pierre Fulke||2 & 1||1,000,000||5,000,000|
|WGC-Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship|
|2000||Darren Clarke||Northern Ireland||Tiger Woods||4 & 3||1,000,000||5,000,000|
|1999||Jeff Maggert||United States||Andrew Magee||38 holes||1,000,000||5,000,000|
|Year||Winner||Country||Runner-Up||Score||Third Place||Fourth Place|
|1995||Barry Lane||England||David Frost||2 up||Mark McCumber||Masahiro Kuramoto|
|1996/7||Greg Norman||Australia||Scott Hoch||1 up||Hisayuki Sasaki||Sam Torrance|
|1997/8||Colin Montgomerie||Scotland||Davis Love III||2 up||Ernie Els||Hajime Meshiai|